Saturday, July 25, 2015

JIMMER IS A SPUR!!!!!

The elephant statues outside the front door of the mission home
Posing with the complimentary gas masks which our ever-so considerate hotel provided for us in Ho Chi Minh

Gosh I've been dreaming of that for 5 years, since I was a sophomore in high school! I've been telling people since I was 15 that he should come to the Spurs because he would fit so well into their offensive schematics; the Spurs live and die off three-point shooting role players who come off the bench! Well sorry to start off with something so worldly and unrelated to the mission, but I had like 5 people email me about that so it had to be addressed...

Now relating to things that are important right now:
This week was great! It’s kind of weird to be emailing y’all. I actually didn't put it together until I got on today that the last time I emailed y’all was just this Monday, and I was in Vietnam then! It seems like forever since then! It’s not really like this has been a slow week or anything, it’s just seems like a way long time. It’s kind of like the mission. The mission flies by faster than anything you could ever imagine. Times whizzes by faster than you can comprehend. But at the same time I feel like I've been on my mission for a long time, just because I'm so wrapped up in everyday missionary life. It’s a strange paradox. It’s really hard to remember my past life sometimes. Khmaes always like to ask us whether we're homesick. To be honest, I always can honestly say, "ya I miss home, but I'm not homesick whatsoever." At this point, y’all honestly don't even seem all that real to me. Just a pleasant dream from sometime before. I hope y’all don't take offense to that, haha. The mission becomes your all-consuming life.

That's amazing about Papa! That touched me really strong when I read your email about how he was the branch president in Tan Son Nhat back in the day. I attended that branch nearly 50 years later without even knowing! What a legacy. The Christensens were super excited to hear about that too when I told them.  [Editor’s note:  Elder Neuberger’s grandfather served in Vietnam in 1967-68 and served as the president of the Tan Son Nhat branch.  At that time it was comprised of mainly servicemen.]

We had a great final day in Hanoi. After we left the email place we finished up p-day activities and then went contacting for 3 hours by walking around, talking to people around the perimeter of this huge lake in Hanoi. President and Sister Christensen were way worried about us going out I think, but nothing bad happened, haha. We were contacting we would just let them walk up to people and then we would just keep walking for like another 20 feet so that it was clear we weren't participating in it. Then when the elders would walk up to us after they were done talking to the people we would ask for the play-by-play. 

Tuesday morning we boarded an airplane and after a half-hour layover in Vientiane, Laos we made it back to Phnom Penh. We were all glad to be back. Although Cambodia is dirtier, smellier, and overall less developed than Vietnam, it’s just got such an endearing, loveable quality about it. When we were over in Vietnam it was surely such a special blessing for the Christensen's to see the progress in the church there since 40 years ago, but even President Christensen was like, "you know, this just isn't Cambodian. I miss hearing Khmae. Vietnamese has the tones, but Khmae just has more cooler sounds than any other language you'll hear." I don't know if I'll ever go back to Vietnam. I hope so. I think we might go back up to do zone conferences. President will be going back up again by himself in a couple weeks to do interviews.

Haha, one random funny fact about Vietnam: you know those flat conical-shaped, straw hats that are super stereotypically Asian? Those are everywhere in Vietnam. Literally probably 1/3 of the women at any given time are wearing them. It’s pretty cool

It amazed us how different Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi are. Ho Chi Minh has a very Western Asian city feeling to it, if that makes sense. Like it feels like you're in a Tokyo or Seoul or Singapore, or some other westernized-developed city. It has an extremely free market. However, there is propaganda EVERYWHERE in Ho Chi Minh. It really seemed like we were stepping into a high school textbook. Like I didn't know there were places with that sort of stuff everywhere anymore. I thought that was 60's and 70's cold war sort of stuff. But no, it’s still in Vietnam. It’s like doing missionary work in a documentary movie. With all the propaganda in Ho Chi Minh we were like, man we can't even imagine how much there will be in Hanoi. Then we get there and there is almost none! There’s still a ton, but it’s more of a Cambodian level than a Ho Chi Minh (Cambodia has a lot of propaganda from it’s ruling party too). We were wondering why that was. We figured that Hanoi would have the most, as it is the capital city. But the thing is that everyone in Hanoi is already a cog in the system who are totally on board with the government. It’s down south in Ho Chi Minh, where the rebellion began way back when, where they do all the propaganda to really get it in the south Vietnamese faces so that they support the government too.

In the airport in Vietnam we ran into a member! We were about to go through the final passport/ticket check to go to the international boarding gates and we hear this "Elders?!" and we turn around and see this little Poly lady (well I think she was poly) standing behind us. We weren't wearing our tags since we were in Vietnam and so she was just like "Oh nope, not yet!" (haha, we thought that response was way funny). We were like "No, no, no we're elders, look!" I pulled my Khmae tag out of my pocket and showed it to her and she went cross-eyed looking at it. Haha, I haven't seen that sort of reaction to Khmae since the MTC. She was way nice and was super excited to see missionaries in such a random place. She couldn't believe there were missionaries in Vietnam. It’s cool how elders are recognizable even from the back (well to Americans at least). When we're traveling with the Moons or the Christensens the locals always assume that Elder Eppley and I are their sons, hahaha. It does feel that way a lot of the time

Office work

Well the transfer madness has begun. We've had some long meetings with President Christensen getting together a rough draft. This transfer is tricky because there will be like 10 missionaries finishing in the middle of this transfer, so we'll have a little mini transfer in another 3 weeks, so it’s kind of like a huge puzzle trying to make companionships that can easily collapse in like 3 weeks when those missionaries leave so that it’s as least messy as possible. When we did transfers with President Moon what would happen is he would kind of come up with a rough draft and then we would come in and discuss it with him for hours. With this transfer though we basically came up with the whole rough draft and he offered his own ideas. After that something interesting and very new occurred. President called the new senior sister training leader (a new assignment just created) Sister Jepsen, to come in and give her thoughts on the transfer outlook. That’s the first time a sister (besides the president's wife) has ever been involved in transfers in our mission (well, that I know of). It was different, but it was great to get her perspective on different sisters' situations. She had a lot to contribute. I love how our church continues to improve and grow in its practices, without changing the doctrines whatsoever. We have always always, always believed that men and women are perfectly equal and complimentary and loved by God, and we always always, always will. It’s just that now, especially with the new Sacrament-planning meeting with the entire ward council and with the age change for sister missionaries, we can see the role of women ever more prominently in the institutions and programs in our church, which is a wonderful change. 

This one's kinda interesting. It's a card which I found in my scripture case's pocket. It's from week 6 or 7 at the MTC a year ago. It says (in terrible, terrible Khmae handwriting, grammar, and spelling) that; "Goals: I want to be a translator for President one year from now." 

I love this church, because God Himself has revealed the doctrine, and can never and will never change. The practices and institutions and programs in the Church are always changing and improving however, to more perfectly reflect and teach the doctrine which they have been designed to help us learn and implement. What a perfectly set-up system of imperfect people the true Church is! 

The Church is true. It’s amazing how many hundreds and hundreds and even thousands of times I've heard the First Vision said on my mission (whether by my own voice or my companion's) and I still get the most wonderful confirming feeling in my heart every time from the Holy Ghost, confirming to me that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that through him the true church of Jesus Christ was restored, including the true organization of that church, namely prophets and apostles. In a few weeks all of the members here will get to see and hear and learn from one of those apostles, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a man who holds the same exact office and keys that men like Peter, James, and John held in ancient times (and still hold). It’s time to get the members to wrap their heads around that fact so that they can adequately prepare themselves!

I love y’all!


Love Elder Burger

View from our hotel in Battombang (from our khaet trip a couple weeks ago)

You asked me to send some photos of the office, so here they are
Sombor, basically the mission handyman

Sister Leavitt, the mission secretary

Elder Leavitt, the mission financial secretary

Entrance to the Christensens' living quarters

President's office

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pictures from Vietnam

Editor's Note:  These pictures were received after Elder Neuberger returned to Phnom Penh.  They are pictures from his trip to Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, Vietnam.  You can read about his trip in the earlier post from today.



On the plane to Ho Chi Minh!

Starbucks really is on every corner!

Communist party propaganda is EVERYWHERE in Vietnam



A park right outside of our hotel

Our hotel lobby

Ho Chi Minh

Tan Son Nhat chapel

On exchange with the Tan Son Nhat elders 

Riding over to the "Meet the President" meeting in Thao Dien

McDonalds!!!

We were way pumped to eat McDonalds, if you can't tell

Ho Chi Minh McDonalds

Ho Chi Minh is full of HUGE bridges

View of Ho Chi Minh from a bridge

Thao Dien chapel

Vietnamese currency

All the Ho Chi Minh branch-builders

View from the Thao Dien elders' high-rise apartment


View at night

I was soaked from head to foot.  We'd been biking in the rain for about 3 hours.  My passport got pretty water-logged :/

Hanoi

Another view of Hanoi

Contacting with the Hanoi elders on the side of this huge look in the middle of the city




Our hotel lobby in Hanoi

Layover in Laos

Laos

Vietnam . . . same mission, whole different world



So a week ago I was in Siam Reap. Now I'm in Hanoi, Vietnam... Crazy!! We were home for 2 days then we left again to go to Ho Chi Minh. It’s been nuts!

We flew in on Thursday afternoon to Ho Chi Minh airport. The flight was really turbulent. A couple people puked once we got to the airport. I thought it was fun though. First roller coaster I've gotten to ride in a year! What was really weird as we arrived in Vietnam was that we had to take off our nametags. Missionaries aren't allowed to wear them here. It was an unusually poignant moment taking off our nametags. I knew it'd be coming, but it was definitely weird to do, and then to have to walk around in public with it off. It’s not like the nametag is what makes me a servant of the Lord, it’s my setting-apart which does that, but it’s definitely been weird not wearing it the last few days. It feels nice once we get to the chapels here and get to put them back on inside.

But wowwwwwwww is Vietnam different than Cambodia. Vietnam is SO NICE!!! It’s so clean and the roads are so smooth and the buildings are so modern. Parts of it look nicer than America. We've been blown away at how different it is! I really can't describe. Y’all just need to go and live in Cambodia for a year and then go to a country that’s not 3rd world, such as Vietnam. It'll blow you away. Ho Chi Minh City is beautiful, because it’s full of parks. There are huge tall trees everywhere... It’s like having a mini-Central park every block.

So yeah, we arrived and then we went over to the hotel. The bellhop took our bags from us in the lobby and then Elder Eppley and I headed straight back outside to catch a taxi to the Tan Son Nhat chapel to rendezvous with the elders there to do splits. Sister Christensen was way worried about us going out alone with nothing but a card that said the address of the church building in Vietnamese. Elder Eppley and I don't even have working phones here because our phones only work inside of Cambodia. We were excited though. It’s interesting being helpless in a foreign country. We headed outside and hailed a taxi just to find out that the address on the card didn't exist and that our taxi driver spoke no English! At that point there was a rush of adrenaline to the head, because the Christensens were gone and we had no phone to communicate with anyone. We got out of the car, ran over to the bellhop on the side of the road and told him we needed to use his phone (he spoke a little English). We looked up the elders number on our phone, typed it into his phone (After we figured out the proper number. Part of the number in our phone had the international Vietnamese country code in it so we had to figure out what part that was and delete it), and had him call them, get the correct directions and then tell our taxi driver. Well we figured it all out and made it over to the Tan San Nhat building. There we met the zone leaders Elder Bao and Elder Van and the Tan San Nhat elders, Elder Cuang and Elder Quang. I'd never really met Elder Van or Quang at length, since they're native Vietnamese elders; but Elder Bao and Elder Cuang are from America and they're both hilarious. It was way fun seeing them in Vietnam. So I went with Elder Cuang and Quang and Eppley went with Bao and Van. First stop for us was... McDonalds! Elder Cuang/Quang hadn't eaten yet and so they gave me a couple options for food. One of them was Micky D's, and since Cambodia, North Korea, and the Somali coast are basically the only places on earth that don't have McDonald’s, I had to choose there (I ended up eating there three times in 2 days, haha). Then we went and volunteered at a member's English class and had one of the best branch member meetings I've ever been a part of as well. Both the elders and the sisters are total fireballs in Tan Son Nhat. They're doing great work there. 

Saturday we had a meet the president meeting with the 5 companionships of missionaries in Ho Chi Minh, plus the two senior couples, plus this tiny little senior sister who is an absolute saint. Apparently she goes out into the rice fields and highlands where the church isn't established at all, for weeks and she just goes and finds lost-members who she doesn't know at all, but wants to invite back to church. She does all that at her own expense. You can find the most amazing saints anywhere. Afterwards Elder Eppley and I went with the two other companionships of Elders in Ho Chi Minh. They're both in the Thao Dien branch. I went with Elder Sok and Elder Le. I'm pretty sure that was my fourth exchange with Elder Sok in total (we were in the same district in Stung Mean Chey). We biked all the way over to their house, which is 45 minutes away from the church. Their areas are hugeeeee there. Ho Chi Minh is a city with like 12 million people I think. It is enormous. We would cross these hugeeee bridges that span all these rivers that crisscross Ho Chi Minh. It would take about a few minutes to bike all the way to top of these bridges and then you can just coast allll the way down. It’s pretty fun! It was even more fun because for most of the day it was raining pretty good so we were soaked for hours. It was a nice reminder of Cambodia:)   Elder Le and Elder Sok's house is on the 19th floor of a high-rise. I was not expecting that! We pulled up to the building and I was like what’s this? I didn't realize it was their house. Vietnam is so different...

An interesting part of Elder Eppley and my exchanges here is that we aren't allowed to participate at all. We can only sit and observe. We aren't allowed to share about the gospel at all while here. So when I was out with Elder Sok and Elder Le, for the two lessons we had I would just sit there between Elder Le and Sok and when Elder Sok was speaking Elder Le would translate into English for me (he's from Texas) and when Elder Le was speaking, Elder Sok would translate into Cambodian for me. The whole purpose of Elder Eppley and me coming on this trip is to really understand how they do missionary work over here under the restrictions that they have. In case y’all don't remember, missionaries here aren't technically called missionaries. They have to operate under the title "branch-builders". They aren't allowed to openly proselyte to people. They have to wait for people to directly ask them a question about the church before they can provide them information. Even then they can't share gospel principles or testify to them in the street. They have to wait till they're inside the church or a home to do that. They can only invite them to go to English class or to attend church.  They aren't allowed to wear nametags or even take in large amounts of church materials.  If they catch you bringing in large quantities of church materials they take and burn it (which is what happened to Elder Cuang one time when he tried to bring take in 30 Book of Mormons in his suitcase). 

It’s been interesting seeing the way that they have to contact. For instance, when I was waiting for the elevator with the elders to go up to their apartment, a woman walked in and waited as well. They had a conversation in Vietnamese, which I couldn't understand at all, but towards the end I did at least catch the Viet name for Jesus Christ and I asked him afterwards how that had been able to happen. He said that first off he asked her how she was doing. She said she was good and asked about him and what he was doing here. He told her he works here. She asked where he worked and he told her he worked over in District 1. She asked what he did and he told her he did charity work. She asked what the charity did, and he told her that it was a church. She asked what kind and he said Christian. She asked what’s the name of the church and he could finally tell her. Then he invited her to English class and then we went our separate. I was amazed. I was like " Do you really have to be that roundabout?" Apparently you do. You've got to totally put the ball into their court. It’s a big no-no to initiate anything religious of your own account. It made me really grateful for the religious freedom which Cambodia enjoys. One of my favorite ways to contact people is just to go up to people and say " Hi I'm a representative of Jesus Christ. Have you ever learned about Him before?" It’s simple, direct, and powerful. But you can't do any of that here.

Sunday we went to church in Tan San Nhat and then hopped on an airplane to Hanoi. We had our 7th and final meet the president meeting here this morning. Hanoi only has one companionship of elders and one companionship of sisters, and then 2 senior couples. As careful as you have to be in Ho Chi Minh, you have to be even more careful up here in Hanoi. For one, this is the seat of the government. It’s also super isolated from the rest of the mission, so no ones around to help you if trouble occurs. (Fun fact: also gets really cold up here in the winter. Like 40 degrees. Weird to think that it is in the same mission). 

It’s been amazing being here with President Christensen as he's done these meetings in Vietnam. I don't think I've ever told you about his personal connection to Vietnam. In the early 70's, President Christensen was a missionary in the Hong Kong China mission speaking Cantonese. Eighteen months into his mission he was called into his mission president’s office, where he was told that he and 3 other elders would be sent into Vietnam to open up the country to missionary work. Crazy! Especially because that country was still the hotspot of the world! It was in the middle of the war. It would be like if I got called into the mission presidents office at my 18 month mark to go and open up missionary work in Afghanistan. It was so big that the First Presidency actually had to call his parents to ask for permission before they could extend the call. So he and those 3 others flew into Saigon and were left there on their own. None of them spoke any Vietnamese, and absolutely no church materials had been translated at all either. All there was was a small branch made of people who had been introduced to the church by American servicemen. President Christensen has such a strong testimony of the gift of tongues. They would study Vietnamese all morning every day with a woman who also spoke Cantonese. He said that within 3 months he felt just as comfortable with Vietnamese as he did with Cantonese after speaking that for 18 months! He says that within a month of going home, all of his Vietnamese completely left him. He couldn't even count to ten. The Lord certainly worked miracles through him and those three others, and He knew that they would need to learn the language fast. Two of the people he taught in the 6 months he was in Vietnam are the mothers of 2 missionaries who are here right now in our mission, Elder Bao and Elder Cuang, both of whom I've already mentioned! How cool is that?!

The mission in Vietnam at that time was only open for about 2.5 years. Then it was closed and the majority of the members actually had to be evacuated out because of their close association with Americans (that’s how Elder Cuang and Bao's mothers got to America). The Lord truly knew that He had a short window in which to lay the foundation of future work in Vietnam, and He took full advantage of it. It’s amazing seeing how this truly is the Lord's work. He has a great plan, which we don't always understand, but as time passes we truly can see the masterpiece the Lord works. A few of those early members in Vietnam were able to stay independently active in the gospel all the way until the Church could be reopened here just a few years ago. They are now pillars in the branches here. The Lord also must have truly known that the Vietnamese government would only allow Vietnamese-ethnicity missionaries to serve here in the future, so He raised up families in Vietnam who would move to America, grow strong in the church there, and bring forth missionaries which could then be sent back here to teach the Vietnamese people. What a marvelous work and a wonder!

I love y’all! We'll be flying back tomorrow! I'll send pictures when I get back to Phnom Penh. I'll tell y’all more about Vietnam next time I email too! I love y’all so much and I love this gospel!  

Love Elder Burger



Monday, July 13, 2015

Take me home, ជនបទ road


Balcony of our hotel room in Kampong Cham looked directly onto the Mekong River

សាយសប្បុខ y’all. Hope everything is going great back home! It certainly sounds like it is! I'm currently emailing y’all from an email shop in Siem Reap. Y’all want to know something crazy about this week? It’s been a year and a half since I opened my mission call when I found out that I'd be coming to Cambodia. Craziness. Time doesn't just fly, it completely disappears! Missions start and then almost immediately you're over a year into them! I thought I understood the way time works. I've come to realize that I don't know how time works at all. It’s the weirdest phenomenon...Something I forgot to tell y’all last week is that I got really sick! Yay! I'll spare y’all the details. They'll probably make for some pretty funny stories someday though. Sister Moon gave me some medication to help me out. I was on it for a few days. It seemed to go away. Then I drank a gallon of milk in like 2 days, which I haven't done since I came to Cambodia. Let me explain something about Cambodian cuisine: dairy doesn't exist. No cheese, no yogurt, no milk. The only dairy I've had are the few yogurts I buy at the supermarket every week. Not a lot. But something interesting that happens to most missionaries over time here is that we become pretty lactose-intolerant, from a lack of eating dairy. So the day after I went through the gallon of milk, Elder Eppley and I had to drive President Christensen down to Bakuu to do a baptismal interview. Bakuu is this little farming village about 45 minutes away from Phnom Penh. The roads are wayyy bumpy. Well needless to say, I had the worst abdominal pains while doing the drive. Thankfully when I went in with President to translate for him during the interview, the pains went away. But when we drove back they came again. Tender mercies though.

This trip has been so much fun so far. On Friday we drove up to Kampong Cham with the Christensens. We did the Meet the President there, and then Elder Eppley and I translated for several temple recommend interviews and a meeting with the district presidency and a fireside with all the members. Saturday morning we made the drive up to Siem Reap through Kampong Thom. We held the Meet the President meeting there and then translated for another baptismal interview with President had to do, and then we dropped off the Christensens at the hotel and Elder Eppley and I went to go observe the Siem Reap English class (because they're having tons of success with it up here!). Sunday we attended both wards, in between going over to eat lunch at the elders' house. Afterwards President had to do training with a branch president to help him learn how to do temple recommend interviews. The district president couldn't really train him either because both the branch and district presidents have only held those callings for three weeks. It was cool because the way that President conducted the training is that he had the branch president conducting the normal temple interviews, and we just sat in on them to make sure he did them right (Elder Eppley and I were sitting in translating for President). We only sat in for one of them then President had the branch president conduct the rest while President Christensen took the district president and talked with him for an hour and a half about problems in the district. It’s so cool having the opportunity to go and translate for President Christensen because honestly, Elder Eppley and I get to sit in on a lot of meetings that we would never be able to sit in on until we are like 45.

Elder Eppley and I are learning a ton about church organization through all this. I definitely feel like a theme of my whole mission has truly been seeing how the church works on an administrative level, just because the church is so, so young here, and the leaders really have to turn to us American elders to learn about their responsibilities and about protocol and what not. As Americans and members from birth, we are kind of the knowledgeable ones on the matter. So I've learned a ton about church administration already, but since coming to the office I've learned even more. It’s such a rare and wonderful opportunity to be able to accompany a mission president (well 2 of them) 24/7 and to learn from him and his vast store of knowledge. 

Our responsibilities have certainly changed a lot since President Christensen came in. We really have to be by his and Sister Christensen's side all the time, because they don't speak any Khmae.  We drive them everywhere as well, because even though they just got their licenses, they haven't had the opportunity to practice driving in a third world country yet. We also answer questions about mission policy, rules, initiatives, and programs all day. It is so much fun being with the Christensens! They are the coolest! Everybody loves them when they meet them. They are just so funny and warm and welcoming. It’s been an absolute blast being around them all the time. They get along perfectly with each other too. Their chemistry and team work together is such a fun thing to watch! They are really driven to learn Khmae as well. Elder Eppley and I have been teaching them Khmae as we've been driving around. We bought a little white board before we left on the trip so that we could help them practice learning the script before they learn anything else. "Lesson #1; Romanized Cambodian is the work of the devil."   They're doing really well with it! They're catching on and aren't getting frustrated with it, which is the key. They always finish their talks at church with their own testimony in Khmae. It’s cool and the members love it. Hopefully President Christensen will quickly be able to do what President Moon would do, which is give all his talks, interviews, and training by himself in Khmae (he got that good). But until then, I absolutely love translating for them all the time!

It’s been wayyy nice staying at hotels, not going to lie. Like the last two nights here in Siem Reap we were staying in this resort that was beautiful (we just stayed in this alright guesthouse in Kampong Cham). We got to take baths! Oh man those were nice... In the last 9 or so months I have showered with hot water a grand total of two times. The beds were ridiculously comfortable too. Haha, I'm sure I would have thought that it was just an average bed, if I was coming straight from America. But I've been sleeping on rotting, pockmarked foam pads put on flimsy 2x4 frames for the last year, so it felt good to sleep in a real bed. The breakfast was way good as well... Bacon...

Lobby of the hotel in Siem Reap

Real beds!!

Yesterday at church a girl was opening her mission call. Of course we went over to watch and guess what? She opened her call to the Utah Salt Lake City mission! She opened up her book and was like "this is going to be my mission president!" and she shows us a picture of the Spendloves! I was like "I KNOW THEM!" The Christensens were way excited too because they met the Spendloves as part of their training. She'll be getting to their mission in like November or December. 

Sister Yin receiving her mission call to the Salt Lake City Mission.  She is holding up a picture of President and Sister Spendlove who will be her mission president. [Editors note:  President Spendlove was Elder Neuberger's stake president when he left on his mission]

Yesterday, as the day was winding down, Elder Eppley and I were kind of going over the itinerary of the rest of the trip (we'll be getting back to Phnom Penh on Tuesday night), and we were amazed at the craziness yet to come. This week is going to be crazy because on Friday we begin another 5 day trip... to Vietnam!  We get to fly out with the Christensens to Ho Chi Minh and then to Hanoi! We're way pumped to be able to go. The assistants haven't gone to Vietnam for over 2 years, but President Christensen told us that he really wanted us to go with him. Elder Eppley and I were thrilled to hear that! We'll get back from that Tuesday night as well, and then transfer madness begins, because transfer calls will be going out that next Sunday. President Moon usually kept us very involved in transfers, but since this is President Christensen's first transfer, we're going to get to help out a ton with it! We're excited! The week after that we'll be driving out to the provinces again so that President can do interviews with all the missionaries. After that Elder Holland will be coming to our mission! We're going to have to figure out all the logistics for that, with all the missionaries in the mission coming down to the city to meet with him. That's going to be nuts. A couple weeks after that will be more transfers, and in that transfer we'll have 20 new missionaries coming in, which makes all the logistics and training a lot crazier!

WHEW!!! Life is a blur. I love serving the Lord here in Cambodia. This isn't the way I imagined my mission panning out to be at all, but I guess this is what I need to be doing right now. I do cherish the little time that we get to go out and teach people though. It’s such a wonderful thing to help bring others closer unto Christ, because what happens without you realizing it is that you get closer and closer to Him as well. I love the church and I know it’s true. Having the Spirit in our lives is one of the greatest blessings that exists. All our choices contribute to having that presence or not.

To answer your questions:
What are you going to do in Siem Reap this Pday? More temples? – today in Siem Reap we went painting shopping. Cambodian paintings are the coolest. I didn't buy any because I've got a long time left (thankfully) but Elder Eppley's mission is beginning to wind down so he splurged, haha. I'm not going to tell you how much money he spent.

Who are the investigators you are currently working with? – we have one investigator we're working with right now named Bolo. His situation is difficult right now, because his mom (who is a less-active member) has cervical cancer. Thankfully, after lots of doctor's visits and a priesthood blessing, the cancer is going into remission. Bolo still isn't progressing though. That’s frustrating enough, but what’s also frustrating is that we aren't really in town too much to teach him!

When in Phnom Penh do you drive the mission van, or do you have a different car for city travel? – Yeah most of the time we drive the big ole 12 seater van around. It’s a blast to drive because it’s got a turbo engine. It’s got a lot kick with it. On this trip we've been driving the Toyota Prado (which is the mission president's car) around. That’s a fun car too. It’s got a less sticky stick then the van, but a less forgiving clutch. You win some, you lose some... Both are good though. The Church actually wants President and Sister Christensen to go and buy a new car though. They'll be doing that soon.

How was the Fourth of July at the Embassy? – 4th of July at the embassy was definitely a weird experience. After getting out of it, being surrounded by Americans, the four of us just looked at each other and were like "Man, we felt like foreigners in there.'" It was a breath of fresh air to step out of the embassy and be surrounded by Khmaes again. It’s going to be terrible culture shock going home...

I love y’all! Have a great week! We'll be heading out to Battambang in a couple hours!

Love Elder Burger


The Mekong River



The daughter of the member of the district presidency in Siem Reap. She's way charismatic.